Tourette syndrome is an inherited severe neurological disorder usually occurring before the age of eighteen and is associated with a degree of facial and body tics sometimes accompanied by random declarations of phrases or obscenities (2,3). The facial and body tics associated with the disorder can be painful and even embarrassing. Involuntary body movements such as jaw snapping, gyrating, hopping, and obscene gesturing are to name a few (1). Tourette Syndrome was named after a French neuropsychiatrist named Gilles de la Tourette who successfully assessed the disorder in the late 1800’s(3). Tourette Syndrome claims no specific race or ethnicity. The disorder generally can affect any ethnic group yet it does affect three to four times more males than it does females (3).
Although just a mere decade ago Tourette Syndrome was frequently misdiagnosed as schizophrenia, Sydenham’s chorea, epilepsy, or nervous habits, its symptoms are now differentiated and specific case related. Tourette Syndrome is a case sensitive genetic disorder that varies from generation to generation. However, not everyone that carries the genetic make up of Tourette Syndrome will express those symptoms (1). Coined as the term autosomal dominate, when one parent is a carrier or expresses symptoms of having Tourette syndrome, there is a 50/50 chance the child will receive the gene from the parent (1,4).
There are several behavioral and cognitive difficulties associated with the tics that many with Tourette Syndrome experience. Although Tourette Syndrome may present itself as a disorder of motor and vocal tics, it is much more complex. Commonly linked with Tourette Syndrome is attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity(ADHD) as well as obsessive compulsive behavior (1,3). There are other behavioral disorders that Tourette Syndrome patients display such as depression, anxiety, irritability, argumentativeness, stubbornness, and impulsivity, that may not be directly linked to Tourette Syndrome itself, but may be contributed to the patient’s reaction to having to live with such a chronic illness (3). Associated with the motor tics experienced by the patient are sometimes more self-destructive behavior such as head banging, eye poking, and lip biting (1). There have also been cases of various learning disabilities connected with Tourette Syndrome such as dyslexia (4).
Vocal tic behavior in patients diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome include outbursts of meaningless words or phrases. The vocal tics disrupt the regular flow of speech and cause the patient to stammer or stutter (1). Inappropriate outbursts called coprolalia are considered involuntary. Coprolalia may also take place in this display of vocal tic disorder. However, coprolalia only takes place in a small number of Tourette Syndrome sufferer’s (1).
Each individual suffering from Tourette Syndrome should be evaluated as such. Certain manifestations of Tourette Syndrome...